Lady Frogs Rated 22nd by Athlon Sports in Preseason Poll
Sept. 15, 2003
FORT WORTH, Texas
The TCU Lady Frog basketball squad has cracked the preseason top-25 rankings in Athlon Sports magazine, coming in at No. 22. It marks the first time in school history that TCU has appeared in the publication's women's basketball preview. Earlier this year in May, the Purple and White was pegged 20th in Women's College Hoops.com's "Very Early Bird Rankings for 2003-04."
"It's a good starting point for us," said Head Coach Jeff Mittie. "It's great recognition for our program and symbolizes how far we've come. A year ago, we had to deal with expectations because we had become a target. This is a positive for us because of what we learned from that experience. Our goal is to be seen as a top-25 program every year."
The excerpt on TCU from the magazine reads "Sandora Irvin has all the makings of a star. If the 6'4" junior forward can improve her shooting touch, she should carry the Horned Frogs to new heights. Two seniors-forward Tiffany Evans and guard Ebony Shaw-will provide scoring, rebounding and leadership."
Irvin led the squad in scoring last season with 12 points per outing. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native fell just short of a double-double average with 9.7 boards each game as well. She was the MVP of the Conference USA Tournament last season, as the Lady Frogs became the first team in tourney history to claim the crown playing on four consecutive days. Irvin also picked up all-league recognition for the second-straight year and became the first player in TCU men's or women's basketball history to record over 200 blocks in a career.
Shaw averaged a shade under 10 points last season, second-best on the team. She also ended up third on the team in rebounding with 3.6 grabs off the glass each game. The local Fort Worth product scored in double figures in 19 ballgames for TCU last season and was named the team's Co-Defensive Player of the Year along with classmate Evans.
The Carrollton, Texas, native Evans notched 9.4 points per game and 6.6 rebounds for TCU in her junior season. She played more minutes than any Lady Frog last year and logged the second-most blocks on the team behind Irvin. Evans also established a new career-high for rebounds in a single game with 17 at Santa Clara Jan. 6.
All three Lady Frogs look to join TCU's five-member 1,000-point club this season, with Shaw the closest at 804 points. Evans and Irvin have 760 and 731, respectively. Irvin and Evans could also end up Nos. 1 and 2 on TCU's career rebounds list as they have 614 and 576 apiece. Currently, Janice Dziuk (1987-90), who is now an assistant coach for North Texas, holds the record with 778 to her credit.
TCU came in ahead of Arizona, Virginia Tech and Southwest Missouri State in the poll. The Lady Frogs are slated to face three teams this season that boasted a higher billing in Athlon Sports in the likes of Tennessee (No. 9), DePaul (No. 18) and Rutgers (No. 19). TCU takes on the Lady Vols and Blue Demons at home Jan. 2 and Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. and noon. The Purple and White travels to New Jersey Dec. 14 to face the Scarlet Knights at 1 p.m.
Last season, TCU made a strong showing in the preseason polls, placing 19th in All-Star Girls Report and No. 20 in ESPN/USA Today. After their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 2001, the Lady Frogs entered the 2001-02 campaign with preseason kudos from Women's Basketball Magazine and Street & Smith's at 15th and 17th, respectively.
TCU will kick off the upcoming season Nov. 21 at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum with a 7 p.m. match-up with Texas State. A pair of home exhibitions Nov. 7 and 17 will provide the Lady Frogs with a tune-up to the campaign. Both contests are slated for 7 p.m.
Athlon Sports Preseason Top-25
1. Connecticut (37-1)
2002-03 records in parentheses